Elvis, Anyone? - Issue #2
Ice Princess Deluxe

Comic book shops. Yep, we've all been in them, we love 'em, the owners love us if we buy tons of back issues off their hands.

The shop that I go to is kind of a little thing. It's put in the very corner of the tiny shopping center that nobody really goes to anymore because of the mall and the bigger shopping centers that sprouted up across town. The Comic Nook is right next door to a pizza parlor that nobody really goes to anymore because of the trendier greasy spoons on the north side of town to eat at. So finding the darn place on the road was really hard to do.

Once you park, you're greeted with a ratty looking front entrance that's in the middle of getting a new sign and you think "Oh boy. I bet it's all dirty and icky inside¡¦quot; Can't be further from the truth. The comics, and boy howdy, in a spot that's so tiny, they've managed to put out a lot of them, are organized in their wooden bins and the extras are boxed up, labeled and stacked neatly underneath. Nice change.

Now I've only been in there either right when they've opened or during the week when there's nobody but me and the guy selling the books there. Keith is usually the one working there. We say hi and then he either goes back to stocking the bins or doing whatever paperwork is needed to be done. It's pretty nice. I'll buy my stuff and then we'll shoot the breeze for a while before I leave.

Okay, so you're thinking "Hey! Her column is about X-Men sightings, not singing the praise of her favorite comic shop!". I hear ya, I'm getting there. Just give me a minute willya? Like I was saying, I usually don't go in the shop any other time than right at noon when they open or on the weekdays when all the kids are at school. I should keep it that way.

Never go to a comic shop on Saturday afternoon if you don't want trouble.

It so happened that this Saturday my aunt visited and brought along her little brood of children. The two girls are sweet as can be, but my cousin¡¦ell since I've already done an X-Baby themed entry, I can't really compare him to lil Wolvie, can I? Hmm, how about Quicksilver on a sugar high then? He's in the second grade, short for his age, but talks and moves a mile a minute. He's the kind of kid you have to keep in the truck when you go to a china shop or anywhere that has glass displayed in easy reach.

So saying this, we were having a really nice visit when the phone rings. It's Keith from the Comic Nook! Oh my goodness, he called me! I'm all "Hey Keith, what's up?" thinking "Yes! He called me! Woo hoo!"

"Hey. You've got some books in your box. Wanna pick 'em up?" Oh. Oh well, at least he called me. I tell him sure, I'll be right over and then I hang up. Dad, the protective Daddy Bear that he is, growls and asks who exactly is Keith. He can't help it, I'm an only child and his Little Girl. Some days I feel like I'm doomed to be an eternal five year old in his eyes. Hey, Jubes and I have something in common. I tell him what's up and he tells me as long as I'm out I might as well put gas in his truck. Great, now I'm an eternal five year old with a drivers license. I say sure and I'm headed off to my room to preen, but not really look like I'm getting pretty. Guys can't tell anyways. There's a tiny knock at my door and lo and behold, there's Jimmy, my cousin.

"Hey, can I come with ya?" he asks. He's still too little to actually know that it's not good to walk in on a girl in her underwear as she's changing, but he's smart enough to knock. Living in a house with three girls older than he is shows sometimes. I don't mind him, he's preoccupied by drooling over my comic collection. I'm putting on a shirt and tugging on a pair of faded jeans (just once I wish I had a pair that didn't have the knees torn out or were paint stained), and I slap his little hand lightly.

"There will be no viewing of the Princess' comics little boy," I tell him, because I see his grubby little hands reaching for Remy, Logan, and my brand new collection of Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos. I only got those a few weeks back and I had to shell out a lot of cash for them. No way am I gonna let him look at Nick Fury without the eye patch when I haven't had a chance to read all of them. Jimmy looks at me with those puppy dog eyes I think every boy is born knowing how to pull, and asks me again if he can go with me. Brilliant person that I am, I tell him sure, why not? What harm can a little guy do?

Famous last words there Princess, I'm thinking twenty minutes later. I've got him strapped up in the backseat of Dad's truck with the radio going. The nearest gas station is on the north side of town, so while I'm there, I go to the mall and grab my paycheck and then decide to head off to the newest comic store called Comics R' Us. Corny, yeah, but people remember it. It's not really crowded with the comic people, more kids are in the game room playing Magic or whatever card game is popular nowadays. I just hear some kid shouting about his troll's magic power defeating another kid's demon hellspawn's mace. Jimmy's eyes are bright as he goes over to the new releases. I have to shell out ten bucks on the ones he tore accidentally on top of my purchases. We leave pretty fast and I drive down to the 'Nook and cuss because my usual parking spot is taken. Goodie, I gotta park by this car that's so crooked I'm just hoping they don't hit the truck when they pull out. I stop the engine and take out my purse, taking my checkbook and list of comics out and shoving the purse under the seat.

"Issa, why you doin' that?" I try and explain that the company policy is that all purses or bags have to be checked if you stay in there for a certain amount of time. It cuts down on shoplifting. I just don't want Keith to look in there. Who knows what he'd find that I thought was long lost. Purses are like that. Cosmic black holes that go over your shoulder. Besides, I'm the only girl that frequents the comic shop. It would look girlie if I brought in a purse. Okay, last minute check. Breath fresh? Yep. Clothes okay? Uh huh. Hair? Well, ya can't do much on a bad hair day but pat it down with your hand and hope for the best. I'm opening the door and notice a sign proclaiming that all back issues are half off today only. Joy! I grip my list in my hand and walk in the door.

What I find there is just odd compared to what I'm used to. Kids, adults, teens are littered all over the place. The game room in the back is overflowing, another kid shouting how his troll's magic power defeated another kid's demon hellspawn's mace. Keith is at the counter, busy with a customer. He looks over towards the door long enough to shout out a "Hey Wolvieswoman!" before going back to business. Yeah, that's my pet name with the guys there ever since I cleaned out their once bulging bin of Wolverine back issues and spent a small fortune on one number one limited series issue. They got me Loganesque dog tags for Christmas, wasn't that sweet of them? I keep 'em on my truck's rearview mirror now. Jimmy is awestruck at the amount of comics. I'm still stunned by the amount of people there.

"Hey, her name is Issa an' there's tons more books here than that other store we just went to!" Uh oh. You know those western movies that have the scene of the noisy bar that goes totally silent when somebody says something? Well, I've never seen it happen before in real life, but here it goes. Keith is looking at Jimmy with a big ole laugh just waiting to bubble over the surface. Great. The cutie is gonna laugh at me. Not good.

"Yeah, that's because it was a book store, not a comic shop Jimmie," I say, saving my ass. Unspoken rule in this town. Don't go to the competitor's store if you shop here. It's like sleeping with the enemy. Everyone that works at the 'Nook knows I work in a bookstore. Ignoring the looks, I grab Jimmy's hand and make him hold onto my back pocket.

Okay, okay, I promised X look-alikes and I'm going to deliver. Like I said, that day was half off back issue day. I had my list of Gen X, Uncanny, and regular X-Men ready and I meant business. Now I wouldn't have expected a town as small as we are to have so many people reading comics, nor would I have expected them to all be X-Men aficionados. There's a cluster of men older than I am standing around, sifting through the bins. One of them is tall, blond, and pretty damn good lookin'. He looks like he works out plenty too. I'd wager he was around twenty eight, twenty nine. I politely say excuse me and earn my spot next to him to sift through the ones he's already looked at. I've never heard a man growl at me either. It's kinda unnerving. I move and I'm sandwiched between him and this guy that for all intents and purposes, looks like a non blue haired, kitty shaped Hank. He's got on this loud Hawaiian shirt and khaki shorts, sandals, and wire rimmed glasses. He also has big hands and bigger feet. He's a lot more polite than the Victor Creed wannabe. I grab some comics, smile at the cute and polite Henry, and move over to the other side to check out the Gen X stuff. There I hit the jackpot. I grab all the ones on my list except for a few that they don't have. Happy happy. Go to the Gambit section, frown because they haven't restocked or haven't gotten any more. They're still down to the ones that I left over when I came one day and bought more than I should have. By this time, I realize I haven't felt Jimmy's little hand on my back pocket in a while. I'm looking everywhere and finally find him talking to Keith.

"An' we went to the other comic store an' she bought a couple of books an' she bought me Spiderman an' Batman books an' I got to play with their stuff an'¡¦quot; Trust Jimmy to talk somebody's ear off. His eyes are wandering over to the case of poly resin figurines of comic character busts. I clearly see the "you break it you buy it" sign and hope that Keith can keep him away from them before I have to shell out fifty plus dollars for a really neat figurine. I figure Jimmy's in a safe enough place and go back to where the cute Hank left and the mean Victor is still standing. He's got his hands on some Sabretooth mini series that came out a long time ago and that I have all of except for one. I grab that issue and I hear him growl again. Boy, some people. I look at the register and see that Keith is busy checking out the Henry guy and Jimmy is talking to the two regulars that are sometimes there when I come in on the weekday. They have this running debate on who is better: Superman or Batman. I say Batman, but I'll never put in my two cents. Just listening to them is entertaining enough.

"I think Spiderman is the best!" Jimmy says. "Batman an' Superman are stupid!" Great. The two guys stop and stare at him. I save him from complete destruction by grabbing the back of his collar and jerking him over to the cash register. I pay and smile, knowing that I got a way better deal for all the books I got than the comic shop out of town where I bought my Sgt. Fury issues. I've got the distinct feeling they poked my eyes out there. Keith has to put my purchases in two bags. By now, the crowd has thinned out a bit and the only people actually in the comic area are the still muttering and looking at me dirty Creed, a man with his son that looks amazingly like Mr. Fantastic, some kids reading the Anime graphic novels, the two guys that are giving me dirty looks because of my cousin and muttering about how Wolverine is a pansy and how Batman and Superman can take him just to try and tick me off, and us. Everybody else is in the game room, shouts coming about somebody's hellspawn not supposed to have a mace in the first place. Keith goes "Laters." and I reply with a "See ya." Me and Keith, people of a million words.

On the way out, I bump into the local Bobby. He's tall, brown hair, blue eyes and he's always cold when you shake his hand. I swear, he turns on his air conditioner in his car to subzero. I've seen him in the wintertime wearing shorts and a tank top when everybody is wearing jackets. Of course, this is Texas. Cold snap comes in and we bundle up and waddle around like penguins. I tell him there's a sale going on and he looks at my bags and asks if I left any for him.

"Nice shirt," he says. Goodie, at least somebody noticed.

ice princess deluxe